Mt. Baker Sunset Summits!
Seventy two hours out from summit day…
This is my sixth climb for the Climb to Fight Cancer in nine years. My first climb was Mt. Rainier in 2007. I climb for my sister-in-law, Verna, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. I had no thought going forward after the Rainier climb, but before it was over I was hooked.
I have been joined by over a dozen friends in this endeavor over the years, but this year was special in that my nephew, Andrew, joined me for his third Fred Hutch climb and my friend Marcus’s son, Skylar Fenton, joined me too. Two twenty-something guys on board trying to make the world a little gentler place.
I was honored to climb with some strong women, Heather and Kate, who are all in with Fred Hutch and have been climbing a mountain every year for cancer research. Also we may have converted two Alpine Ascents clients, Bill and Katherine, to join us moving forward. Our Fred Hutch team was rounded out by Chris, who shared some private and beautiful life moments with me. It seems we all have lost at least one person close to us to cancer. This is why I climb, this is why WE climb for Fred Hutch. Kevin, from Salt Lake City like me, rounded out the client side of the team. Make no mistake, when we strapped on the crampons we were ONE team, climbing to fight.
Many thanks to the awesome guide team that Alpine Ascents International put together – Jangbu Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa and Patrick Chu. I was most excited that we had Pasang Lhamu Sherpa with us, one badass woman climber who just summited K2. I was fortunate that on summit day I was at the end of our rope team and had Pasang right behind me, leading her rope team, singing Nepalese songs as we made our way up Mt. Baker. It was beyond magical.
Mt. Baker is a must do for those of you yet to climb her. It is the real deal: steep, snow, ice and lots of glacier travel. The crevasses and seracs are wonderful…our “sunset summit” was perfect…I can’t wait for 2018 and I hope to be joined by this crew again. What an amazing group of humans…my life was truly enriched.
~ By Michael Heathfield. Michael lives in Salt Lake City with his beautiful wife, Lora, and son, Hunter. Hunter joined Michael on his Mt. Hood Climb to Fight Cancer. Michael is a tremendous ambassador for Fred Hutch and makes the world a brighter place every day. He captains his climbing team every two years, aptly named, Team Namaste. Team Namaste has climbed Mts. Rainier, Hood (twice), Denali, Shasta and Baker for cancer research. Namaste to you, Michael.
Photos courtesy of Kate Roll.